Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Take a Chance on Me?

I was reading about New Labour's near bankruptcy with mixed feelings. Being frank, they were abysmal: they failed to renationalise railways whilst splurging on CCTV, war and mass surveillance. However, they managed to get re-elected purely by telling the British people that even if they were the second worst party, they could still save Britain from the worst party.

So goes the two party system. Republican supporters have to pedal drivel about Obama being a Stalinist Islamofascist to hide the fact that Sarah Palin is apparently the brains of the outfit.

If Labour were stable, surely it would just mean that David Miliband would be a neo-liberal neo-con in a 'centre left' cap, just as David Cameron would be a neo-liberal neo-con in a 'centre right' cap and Nick Clegg would be a neo-liberal neo-con in a 'centre' cap.

However, Ed Miliband seems to be making a genuine attempt to change the Labour party. However, this leads to the question 'from what'? The 2010 labour party or the 1997 Labour party?

In fact Blair also ran on a centre-left pro-nationalisation platform. And see where that got to? However, Blair was in charge, when, to quote Maggie 'there was no alternative' from neo-liberalism.

However, the mood is certainly changing. The terms 'left' 'right' and 'centre' are all very stupid and have done a lot to damage modern political thought. Would someone who wanted to massacre half the world's untermensch me a 'centrist' by Nazi Germany's standards? Would someone who wanted to privately manufacture tiddly-winks be a demented mad right winger by Soviet standards?

The terms are intrinsically ridiculous and yet, the Brits have received such a rough time from neo-liberalism, the centre could be the place to watch. Whilst I disagree with him on some things, Ian Dunt who is supposed to be objective is a better critic of neo-liberalism than many Graun writers. And with this yahoo article, I wonder if the 'centrists' are just getting too hacked off with our economic system?

'Well, because the taxpayer now pays higher subsidies to private companies than we paid to state-owned British Rail. A report by Dr Richard Knowles, of Salford University, showed that passenger rail subsidies topped £1.34bn in 2002-2003 compared to £1.07bn in 1993-1994 under BR.
- But rail companies are still ‘profitable', that is, they still make money and pay themselves immense bonuses because the bedraggled taxpayer covers their losses and then pays through the nose for a ticket to ride one of their arthritic trains, before being absolutely wrung dry in the refreshments carriage if they weren't wise enough to stock up in M&S first.'

I think that the British people have long been waiting for an ideological clash of the titans which never happened: of left against right. In fact almost all journalists and politicians morphed into a kind of neo-liberalism: pro-abortion, pro-privatisation, pro-EU, anti-death-penalty but in favour of a large prison population, pro-immigration, pro-pop culture, in favour of 'humanitarian intervention (I.e. people who speak English dropping bombs on people) but against disproportionate violation of national sovereignty (people who talk foreign dropping bombs on people). Whilst I am obviously no fan of neo-liberalism, I don't disagree with all its positions but I think politics needs to have parties who disagree with each other.

Maybe Ed Miliband will bring the Labour party in a new direction. It will be curious to see.


  1. I think Great Britain has a better chance of cleaning up its political house than we do over here in the United States. As you mentioned, the problem in America is that one side is now running almost completely on fantasy, and people are buying it. Apparently, 20 percent of the American population now thinks Obama is a Muslim, even though he is also supposed to be a follower of radical Black Liberation Theology because he attended Rev. Wright's CHRISTIAN church, AND he is supposed to be a Marxist Communist, so I guess that also makes him an atheist!

    Good grief.

    The worst part about this nonsense is that it distracts from honest, sane criticisms of the Democrats and I think there are many to be made.

  2. Yes, I read that Miliband piece in the Graun. Yes, the Lib Dems have reneged on their electoral promises, but so have Labour.
    Your right too about the 'lesser of two evils' which kept labour in power for 13 years. What a sad indictment of our political structure that essentially people vote for a party that is incompetent simply to keep out another party perceived to be more incompetent.

    I'm pretty mad at the moment, long term unemployment really grinds people down. I voted for the Libs simply on principle that they were the ones who were in favour of electoral reform, but their actions in the coalition have been pretty callous.

    I suppose the best solace is literature. Nikolai Gogol and some of Dostoevsky's earlier gogolesque works like Notes from the Undergorund are a good remedy, the concept of the 'little man' up against the system.

  3. @John
    Very true, the conflicting narratives about Obama are quite mind boggling. However, I get the impression that they are indulging in narcissistic fantasies that they don't really believe whereas in Britain I think that there is a strange blend of religious adherence to certain myths (Maggie saved Britain by privatising our industries) and an absolute conviction in their intellectual integrity.

    Sorry to hear about your problems. I might be joining you if the 'progressive coalition' decides to unemploy its way out of the recession.

    If they did I'd probably just return to full-time education. Probably the best thing in this climate. The irony is that they talk about creating jobs.